We recently finished up our SECOND Annual Capitol Hill day in April. It’s a really fun and exciting event that we hold in Washington, DC.
This year we had more meetings with the offices of Senators and Representatives. We had a fun dinner at Lincoln Restaurant, where the floor is made of pennies. Our adult day representatives met with Speaker Boehner’s office and many other important offices. Each year we do this event, the more I realize how important it is that we are there in these offices. Actually, going to the offices is relatively easy and the conversation is pleasant. The challenge is to continue the action throughout the year. Invitations need to go out to the senators and representatives to tour our centers and see adult day in action.
While many were at least familiar with our service sector, much confusion remains: are you like assisted living? Do you go into the homes? We have some educating to do. The issues we face are significant. One adult day provider observed that while Accountable Care Organizations are required to work with community organizations, adult day is not on the list of community service organizations that the ACOs must work with. We face challenges at the federal level, but we also face challenges at the state level. Budgets are being cut. Care of seniors and the disabled is being farmed out to managed care organizations, who may or may not see the value of adult day. The importance of our public policy efforts has never been greater.
We also learned more about the importance of connecting. While in DC, a team of NADSA board members met with LeadingAge in their offices. It was a great conversation, and we have worked with them before. Importantly, we shared ideas about where adult day was heading and how our organizations can work together. There are many other organizations in Washington whose mission and interests overlap that of NADSA’s. We are working to meet these organizations, and I think that next year we will schedule additional networking meetings.
Finally, I wonder if the time of telling our stories to political leaders has come to a close—or needs serious augmentation. The focus in Washington and in the states is controlling costs. They need concrete data about the economic benefits of adult day as well as knowing what our centers do every day. I have a feeling that our Managed Care Task Force is going to come back to us and tell us that the large insurance companies running managed care are really only interested in knowing the outcomes for adult day and the data-backed benefits of adult day. What is the answer to these questions: Can adult day bend the curve on hospital readmission rates? Does utilization of adult day really reduce emergency room visits? How cost effectively can we manage chronic care issues in the adult day setting? I think I know the answers to these and other important questions, but not with any concrete certainty. Is our audience in government and managed care interested in testimonial from our beloved participants or are they more economically calculating? Time will tell, but I’m leaning towards the data-driven analysis.
I’m excited about the future of adult day and the excellent work we’re doing. We have some challenges ahead that require significant change. But we at NADSA at are excited by the opportunity.
Chair, Board of Directors